#19 LOVE

We have spent several weeks looking at the multi-faceted salvation God has given to us in Christ.

It is a costly salvation – Jesus, the Son of God, died to procure it for us. ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...’ (5:25).

It is an amazing and unexpected salvation – it is given to us as a free gift, it is not conditional on our personal obedience to God’s laws. It is ‘freely given us in the One he loves’ (1:6)

It is a complete salvation – everything that God requires of us, and everything we need for him to accept us, he gives to us in Christ.

It is a permanent salvation – it cannot be undone by any failure or lack on our part.

It is so unexpected and so amazing that it forces us to ask the question ‘Why?’

Why did God do such a thing? Why would God do such a thing? Why was Jesus, the Lord of glory, willing to become a human being, to live a human life, to die bearing our sin, guilt, condemnation and punishment – not only rejected by men but forsaken by God the Father?

Paul answers these questions in Ephesians 2:4 – because of his great love for us. Although we did not and do not deserve it, although we were ‘dead ... in transgressions and sins’, although we ‘followed the ways of the world’, although we actually deserved God’s wrath, God saved us – he has made us alive with Christ, he has raised us up with Christ, and he has seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms. All because of his great love.

And it is great, very great, love.

As we have seen in earlier meditations –

God’s grace is glorious.
The riches of his grace are lavished upon us.
His mercy is rich.
His grace is incomparably rich.

Although this free, unconditional, sacrificial love defies our understanding, it is the foundation of our salvation and the foundation of our existence as Christians. Paul speaks of Christians as ‘being rooted and established in love’ (3:17). If this love did not exist, there would be no salvation. But because it does exist, not only does God save us through the death of his Son, but he saves us with a complete, perfect, and guaranteed salvation that depends wholly on him and not at all on ourselves.

The love of God the Father and of Christ the Son is so great that Paul knows that we will never be able to understand just how big it is without God’s help. So he prays:

‘... that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together will all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge ...’ (Ephesians 3:18,19).

That you may have the power ... to grasp’ the immensity of Christ’s love. That you may ‘know this love that surpasses knowledge ...’

Out of this love comes our salvation. In this love we are absolutely secure. Knowing this love we are totally overwhelmed by the greatness of God.

Let us give thanks to God for this indescribable gift!

© Rosemary Bardsley 2017